Well, that was an odd year for writing, that’s for sure. Some very good things happened, certainly, but a lot of things didn’t, and I’m only just beginning to work out why.
The first amazingly good thing to happen was that I found a publisher for my second short story collection, Dip Flash. I’m particularly excited about this, because the publisher in question, Cultured Llama, publishes some really ace people, such as Vanessa Gebbie, Sarah Salway and Frances Gapper. It’s really flattering to be sitting alongside people like them.
The second amazingly good thing to happen was that my first poetry collection, Love and Loss and Other Important Stuff, was published. Silhouette Press did a superb job on it too – I still love that startling cover.
So why do I still have a lingering feeling of disappointment about 2017?
Good question. I’m glad you asked.
The main reason is, I think, the fact that I wrote very little last year. I wrote no poetry at all, apart from a daft full-length poem for kids which I’ve performed once (when I really should have been promoting LALAOIS, I suppose), and which I’d love to have published as a picture book. However, the chances of that happening are lower than the chances of two snowflakes meeting in hell and forming a family, so I’m not entirely sure why I bothered.
I did, however, write one or two short stories. I had this idea that I should perhaps try to get a few more out there last year, seeing as I was going to have a new collection published. So I touched up a few old unpublished favourites, wrote a few new ones and sent them out into the world.
And nothing happened.
I had a completely wretched year. It happens, I know. Not every story one writes is destined for greatness. There are a thousand and one reasons why a given story won’t hit the spot. But it’s still galling when it happens – or rather, doesn’t happen.
Then I had a revelation. I was going through the stories to be included in Dip Flash, and it struck me that the pieces in there were a whole load better than the new ones I’d been touting around. I’d somehow managed to mislay the spark that brings the Dip Flash stories to life (at least, I think it does, anyway).
More interestingly, I’m wondering if some of that spark might also be missing from the current draft of the great novel-in-progress / completed novel / novel-possibly-in-progress-again, which is quite an exciting discovery, because I now definitely know what I can do to bring it back.
So I think in many ways, 2018 could end up being a lot more interesting from the writing point of view than last year, what with Dip Flash coming out as well. And I haven’t even mentioned some of my other plans, mainly because, well, they’re just plans right now. Yes, that was an enigmatic wink, since you asked.